Preparation for Painting a Mural

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From: Tips & Tricks /

Advice for Painting a School Mural

Recently I had an email from a primary school teacher asking for advice about painting a mural at their school with some students.

I’m hoping I could get some advice from you about mural painting. I’m a primary school teacher who is about to start an outdoor mural with some Year 6 students and was wondering if you had any advice re: materials to use and tips or tricks? We will most likely be painting on brick.

Normally I would like to see photos of the wall to be painted to give the best advice. Also, I do offer the service of being onsite to help facilitate painting murals too.

In general, I’ll touch on a few fundamentals. You will want to look at these things before and during painting a mural.

  • Area safety
  • Wall preparation
  • Size of the wall – how much paint to buy
  • Materials – brushes / rollers / paint type / drop sheets

I do have a mural checklist though it is more in-depth but still some good tips in it.

Area Safety

It is good to make sure that the area is free from any rubbish or items that you or students might trip over. Also, think about if people are going to come and watch in the area while painting. It is good to barrier off the area to help reduce people tripping over things or leaning on a wet wall of paint.

You may want to set up a table or area that has all your paint, brushes and materials. This will help to reduce accidental tripping over of items.

Will you be using ladders, it would be good to check with your school policy on this as to how high a person (staff/students) can go on a ladder or if at all.

Wall Preparation

As mentioned, the wall is of brick material so it will more than likely need an undercoat of white paint. Some brick types like to absorb paint so if not applying an undercoat the colour of the brick can come though the painting and make colour changes to the applied paint.

Make sure the wall is cleaned before starting to paint. Sometimes this can be as simple as sweeping it down with a stiff brush or sometimes a pressure cleaner may be needed.

Size of Wall

Measure the wall, eg for a wall that is 5 metres wide by 3 metres high this equals 5×3=15. 15m is the area to cover with paint. When buying paint it will have a guide on the tin on how much area it will cover. Ask the shop assistant as they can help with this too.

If you are using lots of colours you can estimate the rough area of the wall for a colour, eg 50% will be blue so you know that about 7.5m (50% of 15m) of the wall is to use blue paint.


In general, you will want a combination of brush types and rollers to apply the paint. Drop sheets to protect the ground area below the mural and where you keep the paints. look into outdoor specific paint too (your local paint shop will give advice on this).

Think about a clean area to put used brushes and also a good tip is to use recycled paper cups for adding paint to for students to use.

I hope the above helps, ideally think about the whole process and walk through it as this will be a helpful way to plan what is needed too.

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